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Aberdeen 0 - 1 Celtic

HT Score: Aberdeen 0 - 0 Celtic

Scottish Cup Semi Final
New attendance record.
Celtic scorers: Quinn

21/03/1908 | KO: 15:45

A Record Attendance

For this semi-final tie in the Scottish Cup competition the attendance at Pittodrie Aberdeen, easily beat all records, it being estimated that 20,000 paid for admission. The Celtic had slightly the pull in the first half, but the home defence was steady, and held out against all attacks. Aberdeen had most of the second half in the shape of pressing, and lost the game by ineffectiveness at close quarters. With only a minute and a half to go, Quinn headed the winning goal from a corner nicely placed by Bennett. The game ended amid a scene of great excitement. Result :- Celtic, one goal; Aberdeen, nothing.

Source: The Scotsman, 23rd March 1908

The most important football match which is ever taken place in Aberdeen was played at Pittodrie Park on Saturday afternoon, and resulted in the famous Celtic beating the Aberdeen team by 1 goal to 0 after a keen and remarkably even contest. The directors of the Aberdeen club expected a record attendance, and they were not disappointed, the previous largest gate being far exceeded. Over 20,000 spectators witnessed the match, which was played under the most inspiring conditions. The weather was ideal, the playing pitch was in perfect condition, the players were well-trained and fit, both sides were confident of victory, and they were cheered on to their best endeavour by the great crowd of spectators, the if the Celtic having a large following of supporters, who, however, formed only a small portion of the crowd, the vast majority favouring the home team. The Celtic came north with a well established reputation as cup-tie fighters - they at present hold the national trophy dash while the Aberdeen until this year have had a by no means brilliant cup-tie record. Never before had the Aberdeen team reached the semi-final round of the competition, and the majority of their supporters were confident of their ability to beat the Celtic at Pittodrie, which feat would have made the northern eleven favourites for the cup. The fame of the Celtic, as well as the interest of the semi-final, not to mention the fine weather, served to attract such a vast crowd of spectators. A regular frequent tours of Pittodrie, of course, turned out to the last man and woman, and their numbers were augmented by a occasional patrons, and by hundreds, probably thousands, or people who have never seen a first-class football much in their lives. Elderly gentleman - clergyman, lawyers, doctors, merchants, and so on; ladies, old and young, many of them fashionably attired and wafting choice perfumes around; the wind, and even the blind or they are. From the country district's special trains brought hundreds of enthusiasts. Glasgow was well represented, two special trains conveying a devoted army of Celtic "camp followers" to the Granite City; and there were also many spectators from Montrose, Dundee, Edinburgh, and other terms. It was, all together, a remarkable crowd, and probably the largest ever gathered together within an enclosed area in Aberdeen. The gates at Pittodrie were opened at two o'clock, and the hour and three quarters before the start of the game, and from Matt hour until the kick-off the people passed through the numerous turnstiles in never-ending streams. An hour before the commencement of the game there were 12,000 people within the enclosure, and the stands were full. Still the crowd poured in, and at half-past three the arena was surrounded by an unbroken bank of closely-packed faces. While the crowd assembled stirring music was played by the band of the 1st Aberdeenshire Royal Engineers, conducted by Bandmaster Stavert. The crowd was most orderly, and the arrangements worked smoothly, a large body of constables rendering yeoman service in regulating the flow of the crowd.


The teams were not finally selected until shortly before the match, there being uncertainty regarding one position in the Aberdeen eleven and as to the back and half back lines of the Celtic. About quarter of an hour before the start, it became known that both clubs were to place their best 11 players on the field as follows:-

Aberdeen: Macfarlane; Colman, Hume; Halkett, McIntosh, W Low; Macdonald, Muir, Murray, O'Hagan, Lennie.
Celtic: Adams; McNair, Weir; Young, Loney, Hay; Bennett, McMenemy, Quinn, Somers, Hamilton.

The referee - Mr. Ferguson, Falkirk - came out to inspect the field, and got a sympathetic cheer, the crowd recognising that he had a hard task before him. When the Aberdeen team in their familiar black and gold colours were seen leaving the pavilion, the excitement of the crowd found event in an outburst of cheering, and the barley Celts in their green and white, were hardly less warmly greeted on appearing a few minutes later.


Aberdeen won the toss, and faced the sea, with a bright sunshine and the faintest breath of wind behind them. As the teams lined up, the contrast greatly favoured the Celtic players, most of whom were big and burly. The game, which was started with great vigour, was not long in progress when the effects of excitement among the players was apparent. Repelling a Celtic attack, Colman kicked the ball against Quinn, some other foot averting the danger. The Celtic forwards were the first to show their powers, their run being stopped by Colman. A clever pass by Murray led the Aberdeen outside right away, which gave Weir an opportunity of showing his strong kicking. A return by Hume drove back the Celts, and gave the ball to O'Hagan and Lennie, but the clever left wing payer failed to circumvent Young. A dangerous Celtic rush was stopped by Low, and then Quinn, close in, tried a header, Hume, in clearing give away a corner. From the corner kick Macfarlane fisted out. Bennett and McMenemy, in a dashing run, caught the ball back to Aberdeen quarters. At the other end O'Hagan gave Macdonald a good pass, but the Celtic defence prevailed. Aberdeen's first dangerous attack was initiated by Halkett, who slipped on to Murray, the centre, in turn, passing out to Lennie, and the winger finishing with a drive into goal, Adams clearing while closely attended by Murray. Celtic, through Bennett, returned the visit, the ball going out of play. At this stage of the game attempts that studied combination were frequently made by both sides, but many promising movements were spoilt by excitement and eagerness. Each of the 22 players was desperately in earnest, and the game was contested with determination and energy, Celtic, if anything, showing superior skill in controlling the ball and placing. Clever work by Lennie took Aberdeen well down the field, the run being spoilt by a badly-judged pass by Murray. Celtic then attacked, and the dreaded Quinn, with a clear passage to Macfarlane, shot from 20 yards out, the Aberdeen goalkeeper clearing with plenty of time to spare. Quinn again got through with one of his characteristic bursts, but he was too eager and was given off side. There seemed to be an understanding among the Aberdeen defenders that Quinn was to be held at any price, and when the burly Celts was making a rush for goal, Wilfred Low gave him a full charge, and Quinn turned a somersault. Quinn was eager to show how to take goals, and but for Macintosh he might've had many opportunities, the Aberdeen centre half holding him tight. Tax by both forward lines were repulsed, the defence at each end mastering the attack. A melee in the Aberdeen goal was eased by a free kick for a Celtic infringement, and then came an exciting moment. Quinn, getting a pass close in, turned and shot, the ball going high over the bar. As the Celtic centre was in the act of shooting, Macfarlane sprang at him, going over Quinn's head and bringing him down. Quinn, holding his head, rolled on the ground in pain, but after a rubbing he was able to resume. Colman was repeatedly prominent for good work in clearing. At the other end O'Hagan and Lennie we're being plied with the ball, and it did their best, although they were less effective than usual, owing to the vigilance of Young and McNair. After Bennett had shot past, Macfarlane got a hard drive from Somers. The Aberdeen goalkeeper caught the ball all right, but in running out he let it slip out of his hands, and Somers, with an open goal, was so surprised that he shot over. McNair again and again stopped the rushes of the Aberdeen forwards in the coolest possible manner, his tackling and kicking being superb. The Celts continued to be the more aggressive lot, although the football on neither side was of a high order. The Celtic goal had a narrow scrape when Murray, close in, slipped the ball to Macdonald, the outside right failing to catch the pass. Then O'Hagan missed across, and Lennie stumbled and lost the ball when about to shoot. Muir was next prominent for Aberdeen, forcing play by the Celts was checked by Halkett and Colman, both of whom played strongly. Quinn was again in evidence by an attack on the Aberdeen goal, and he repaid the Aberdeen goalkeeper for his attention earlier in the game by charging him heavily. The referee gave Quinn a word. For a period the Aberdeen goal was sorely beset, and following a corner kick, well placed by Bennett, Hume hooked out the ball almost from under the bar in in miraculous style. It was then Aberdeen's turn, and Muir had a good shot from an awkward position, Murray missing the cross. So the game went on, with the defence on each side accounting for the vigorous but disjointed attacks. The best shot of the match so far came from Murray. Clever play by Halkett gave the Aberdeen centre forward the ball, and from 15 yards out Murray sent in a fast, low shot, which Adams held and no more. At this stage no player on the field excelled Halkett, whose tackling and placing were faultless. After Wilfred Low had cleared a shot a few yards from goal, Lennie raced off in one of his characteristic runs, beating Young and McNair, but failing to find a friendly foot to guide his cross into the net. At the other end, Quinn, unmarked, banged the ball over the bar, and Aberdeen, through Muir, replied, the inside right shooting wide. Hay tried a long drive at Macfarlane, the ball going over the bar. Macfarlane was cheered for a great save executed by springing from his goal and snatching the ball off Hamilton's head, and a few minutes later, with the Celts pressing, a hard drive by Loney severely tested the Aberdeen goalkeeper, who stopped the ball on the line. O'Hagan and Lennie at the one end and Bennett and McMenemy at the other made desperate efforts to open the scoring, but without success.


On resuming, Celtic attack, and after a week kick and smart recovery by Hume, Colman stopped Hamilton and Somers. The cells showed some smart play in the attack, and when Wilfred Low had cleared, the ball was shot over the bar. A fine return by McNair was not followed up, the Aberdeen forwards coming along on the right, only to be again repulsed by McNair, who was much superior to his partner. Getting the ball from Halkett, O'Hagan tried a shot from the penalty line. There was no force in the drive, and the ball rolled harmlessly past. A bad miss by McNair gave Murray an opportunity to shoot, the Aberdeen centre failing to seize it. Smart play by Halkett and O'Hagan upset the Celtic defence, but Halkett's judgment was at fault, for instead of passing out to Lennie he tried a long shot, which was yards short. In the course of such a fiercely-contested game heavy charging was to be expected, and when McNair was sent to earth by Low, the Celtic back was only getting his share of what was going. As time passed the Celtic, without slackening their efforts, seemed to be gradually falling into the defensive, this being due to the keen mess of the Aberdeen team from goal to centre. The Celtic back division frequently showed signs of wavering, and had the Aberdeen forwards kept their heads in front of their opponents' goal, the end of the tale might have been different. Murray and McNair had a tussle, and the Celtic back failing in his kick, Murray slipped the ball to the right. Macdonald rushed in and shot rather weakly, Adams saving in an awkward position. Some amusement was created by the slimly-built Macdonald bowling over the barley Hay, the Aberdeen forward being penalised. Following a free kick, given against Young for rough treatment of O'Hagan, Adams had to kick out from a header by Murray. It was now queen's turn to shine, the Celtic centre having a rare run despite several attempts to knock him off the ball. He went all the way until he met Coleman, who gave him a stout shoulder, and saved the situation at the expense of a corner. The Aberdeen goal was in jeopardy, until a free kick gave relief. Another Celtic attack followed a shot by Loney resulted in a corner. The Aberdeen Lines were cleared, and the home forwards visited the other end. Celtic came back and forced another corner, Hume clearing. Play was pretty much in the open, until, giving a fine pass from McMenemy, Bennett raced down, and crossed, Hamilton, unmarked, shooting straight at Macfarlane, who easily caught the ball and cleared. A minute later Macfarlane stopped an easy rolling shot by McMenemy. With 25 minutes to go the Aberdeen team put so much life into their play that the Celts seemed to be a beaten team, and for 10 or 15 minutes Aberdeen completely outplayed the visitors. During a period of the fiercest and most sustained pressure on goal ever seen at Pittodrie, Aberdeen had the worst of luck in not scoring. Lennie and O'Hagan had now the measure of Young, who seemed to be tiring. Lennie got away, only to be fouled by Young. From the free kick the Aberdeen players bombarded the Celtic goal, Adams fisted out a low shot from Murray, and then Wilfred Low drove in, and McNair, running across, got in front of the ball, and his chest received the full force of the shot, and what looked a certain goal was thus luckily saved. After this narrow escape the Celts worked their way to the other end, where Macfarlane, saving from Bennett, was badly charged by Quinn, and was disabled for a few minutes. Then came another desperate attack on the Celtic goal at close quarters, and with the defence and wavering, it looked as if Aberdeen were to score. Lennie, Murray, and Macdonald endeavoured to put the ball in the net, but the Celtic players packed their goal, and in the ball could not be got. Wilfred Low came up on the run and tried to drive the ball towards the net, low down, with so much force that when his shot was blocked he measured his length on the ground. Such pressure - which was maintained amid an almost continuous roar of encouragement from the spectators - was bound to tell on the Celtic defence, but by desperate efforts, aided by extraordinary good luck, the ball was kept out of the net. Shots were rained in on the Celtic goal, and one rocket from Lennie's foot was cleverly saved by Adams. Macdonald had a good chance, proved too slow, and was deprived of the ball. At last, the Aberdeen attack fruitless, play opened out again and Quinn dashed away, only to be blocked by Colman, the ball going over. Aberdeen returned to the attack, Lennie and O'Hagan outwitting Young, who in his fatigue condition was sorely tried by the tricky pair. Strong kicking by Weir kept the Aberdeen players out. Seven minutes from the finish the Celtic broke away, and forced a corner. The ball was sent in, and McMenemy headed past Macfarlane, tage Celtic the only, and winning, goal of the match. The goal was undeserved on play, and must've been galling to the Aberdeen players after they had three-fourths of the play for fully twenty minutes. The Aberdeen players made a heroic attempt to draw level, and forced a corner. It was their last chance, and they swarmed into the Celtic goal, waiting macdonald's kick. The outside right got things to find, and the ball landed on the top of the net. A minute later the whistle blew, with the score - Celtic, 1; Aberdeen, 0.

Celtic were lucky to win, as the game was value for a draw. In the first half the Celtic were the better team, but in the second period Aberdeen were masters, and were much more dangerous than Celts. The refereeing was unsatisfactory.
For the winners, McNair and Loney excelled in a sound defence. Adams saved well. On the Aberdeen's side, Colman was an outstanding player, and Hume put in some clever defensive work. Halkett was the best of the half-backs, and in defence and breaking up tactics, McIntosh and Lowe were powerful, the former giving the redoubtable Quinn a stiff ninety minutes. Macfarlane has seldom played better, and he was in no way blameable for the goals scored. The forwards on both sides were disappointing.

The total drawings amounted to £586 10s 11d. Of this sum, £456 11s 7d - the divisible gate, one-half of which goes to each of the contesting clubs - was drawn at the turnstiles, while the stands the receipts reached the large total of £129 19s 4d. The previous highest some drawn at Pittodrie was £433 2s 7d, on the occasion of the Aberdeen v Dundee match on February 7. The drawings represented an attendance of over 20,000 people, including season ticket-holders; ladies, admitted free, of whom, it is estimated, there were about 1500 present; and boys, who are admitted to the grounds at a lower price than the men.


The event was attended by only one accident, and that was of a comparatively slight nature for so large a gathering. Towards the finish of the game, a lad named Alexander Chisholm (14), residing at 24 Park Street, who was seated on top of one of the palings, fell to the ground, a distance of about 17 feet, and broke his left leg above the ankle. He was taken to the Royal Infirmary in the police ambulance, where his injured limb was dressed, and he was detained for further attention.


Celtic team, accompanied by the officials, returned to Glasgow on Saturday night in a special southern carriage attached to one of the two excursion trains which left Aberdeen at 7:00 p.m. The train left from the "East Dock" platform, and the team got a hearty a send-off from a large crowd which had assembled in the station square.

Source: Aberdeen Daily Journal 23rd March 1908

A New Record.

There were many at Pittodrie who, the matter of half-a-dozen years ago, would have poo-pooed the idea of anything like 20,000 people coming to see a game in Aberdeen. Where would they all come from? This number and a few more came out to see the Celts and Aberdeen on Saturday, and never was a more animated crowd seen within our enclosure. From all parts they came - ladies and gentlemen who had never seen a football kicked before. Whether they enjoyed the game we cannot, as yet, tell, but easily the excitement seemed as keen on the stands as it was round the enclosure, where the hardy weekly spectator was inclined to lose his head at the decisions of that much-abused official, the referee. During the gathering of the crowd, the brass band of the Engineers, under Bandmaster Stavert, beguiled the time with pleasing selections. An hour before the teams took the field it was seen that the attendance was to beat all records, and the Directors and Manager Philip must be complimented on the extra precautions they took to provide for the safety and seeing accommodation of those present. The exact number who paid for admission was 19,294, and with the Celtic officials and friends complimentary tickets, and ladies, there would be 21,000 at the game all told, the drawings all in being £586 10s. 11d.

The Game Disappointing.

Aberdeen's skipper won the toss, and Quinn set off. This proved the only bit of success which fell to Aberdeen during the whole ninety minutes' play. They had to suffer from many adverse decisions of the referee, which could not be intelligibly understood. It was no wonder the crowd appeared hostile to his decisions, for we could point to several instances in which he was absolutely wrong. The play was vigorous from the start, the aim of both sides being to get there as speedily as possible without any elaboration or forethought. The players were earnest, and crashed in whenever an opportunity occurred, so that we saw more stoppages than was consistent for such an important game. Several times combination was attempted by both sides, but the halves were having none of this, for they pounced like hawks on any attempts at passing. In our opinion, the brunt of the afternoon's work in defence and attack lay with the middle lines of each team. They were the spoilers and attackers frequently. Quinn had a shadow in Mackintosh, who stuck like a limpet to the great centre, and seldom let him have a shot. Young was equally attentive to Lennie and O'Hagan, and ruffled the usual equable temper of the Irishman. There were few shots of real merit sent in to the goalkeepers, who had a comparatively easy time, say in comparison to the September match between these teams. It was one of those games in which the slightest bit of luck turns the tables. This came to the Celts just in the last minutes of the game, when we heard many remarks that a draw had been arranged. The winning goal might have been prevented had Hume not met with his nasty accident. It was he who gave away the corner, which, had he been sound, would have cleared with ease; but the corner did the trick, and McMenemy's head did the rest, Aberdeen being beaten on the post by the only goal scored.

A Summary.

* * While the football could not be described as good, the Celts in the first half were more frequently aggressors than the home side. Their ineffectiveness at close quarters was caused by the brilliant defence of the home side. Then, in the second period, Aberdeen had very hard lines. They had more sting in their shots, and twice the Celts' goal was saved from downfall by good luck more than good management. A draw would have been a fitting finish to such a display, for neither side really deserved a goal; or, on the run of play generally, neither side was a point better than the other. However, as good sportsmen, we take our defeat as such, and hope to meet the Celts again, and do not grudge-them their victory, for they were just as anxious to win as our players were. Our players did remarkably well to run such experienced opponents to a goal in such an important game, where their nerves were tried to a much greater extent than the Celts were.

The Players.

Adams kept goal well, and his backs in front, if not brilliant were safe, McNair being easily the best. Young had the toughest pair to handle, and. spoilt many good chances by the home left wing. Loney was equally good, but Hay did not give a great display. Bennett, and McMenemy mere the best forwards with Quinn close up, Somers and Hamilton being disappointing. Macfarlane was great in goal, while Coleman and Hume were better than we have seen them for some time. Till the latter was hurt, he gave as sound a display of back play as any. The halves were brilliant, each one performing his task to perfection almost. Lennie and O'Hagan were best in front line. Murray did not do so well as we have seen him, neither did Muir of Macdonald come up to expectations.

Chatty Bits

The total drawings at Pittodrie on Saturday came out al £586 10s. 11d.
The crowd was one of the most orderly we have ever seen. Thanks to the excellent police arrangements.
Extra banking and terracing, which were completed in time, afforded fine vantage ground for the spectators. Still there was room for more.
The large number of ladies present added tone to the general surroundings. They did not confine themselves to one side or the field on this occasion. Many were on the "tanner" side.
There were hundreds present on Saturday who had never seen a football game in their lives before.
One poor lad fell off a paling, and got his leg broken which was the only accident reported. Under the exceptional circumstances this was wonderful.
The Celts benefited considerably by their short stay on Deeside. They voted it the best trip they have had.
It was clearly seen from the very start that the Celts were out to win. They meant business right away.
The great and only Jimie Quinn got little rope, and had to be content watching the others.
The most finished player on the visitors' side was undoubtedly McNair. Every kick was well taken, and there was method behind his doing it.
We have never seen Young work so hard nor so earnestly as he did on Saturday. His play was not free from blemish, but was cleaner by a long way than usual.
Still, we maintain the football was terribly poor for the occasion, neither of the teams playing as they can.
Tom Murray was too well watched by Loney to get away on his own. He might have parted oftener to Muir, who was generally in close attendance.
The Aberdeen forwards shot with unerring accuracy, but somehow they failed to follow up any advantage they got.
It was just a game where the slightest bit of luck might turn the fortunes, and so it proved to be.
At the same time it was very badly handled by the referee, who was too weak to have charge of such an important tie.
We do not know what the Rough Play' Committee, who were present, may have to say, but they could not have been blind to the many things which the referee failed to notice.
The accident to Lennie was only a temporary one, as he was all right in a short time, and went away to Glasgow on Monday.
Dundee was well represented at this game, several of the directors being present in the pavilion.
Airdrie also had a representative who wished to see how Aberdeen would get on.
The amount of telegrams despatched from Pittodrie on Satur-day was enormous. There was a cable to the Gordon High¬landers in India.
Another kindly enquirer was Henry Low, who "wished the boys success." Even Jim Rorie, the old "Vics" player, was enquiring how the game would go.
League business will now be seriously undertaken by the Aberdeen for the rest of the season. They have only a point to gain to equal last year's total, and they should go a bit above that.
By way of variety Woolwich Arsenal have been booked for a visit next month, while Middlesborough are contemplating a visit also.


We deplore the action of the youngsters, for they were mostly such, who took it into their heads to throw stows and missiles at the Celts, as they took their departure from Pittodrie. The local officials did all they could to suppress this, as was their duty, but these irresponsible youths little think of the consequences to the club, who may be made to suffer for such conduct. We have no sympathy with this sort of thing, and could have wished that some of them had been made an example of. Neither can we condone the attack on the referee while on his way from the grounds, though we disagree with many of his decisions. Surely Aberdonians are above this sort of thing, and we trust they are sportsmen enough, if they cannot see eye to eye with all that took place inside the enclosure, to take other steps to set the matter right than resort to such low tricks as they adopted on Saturday. The club members have a big responsibility in this matter and cannot be everywhere, and it behoves the supporters to check conduct of this sort when they see it. The likelihood is that the last has not been heard of this matter, and if these youngsters are barred from getting into Pittodrie, the same at Rugby Park, they will have brought this upon themselves by their own stupidity.

Source: Bon-Accord, 26th March 1908

Celtic Teamsheet
Adams; McNair, Weir; Young, Loney, Hay; Bennett, McMenemy, Quinn, Somers, Hamilton
Attendance: 20,000
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: Mr. Ferguson, Falkirk
Next Match
03 Dec 2023 / 15:00 / Easter Road, Edinburgh